Mr. Peanut, the 104-year-old anthropomorphic peanut best known for his work as brand mascot for Planters, was found dead today, the result of an apparent murder. The nut brand is wanted for questioning in connection to the murder, which occurred sometime in the early morning hours of January 22. While authorities have yet to officially name Planters as a suspect, the brand released this enigmatic statement via its official Twitter account this morning:
Though some may read this chilling tweet as a plain statement of fact and gentle invitation to mourn the fallen Peanut, authorities—acting on a tip from an anonymous source close to the brand—believe Planters was very likely involved in the brutal slaying, either directly or as an accessory after the fact. The appropriation of Mr. Peanut’s signature monocle in this so-called tribute has the air of a killer taunting authorities and the media, not unlike the Zodiac killer (the identity of whom, as well as his potential connection to Planters, remains unknown).
For over a century, Planters was more than Mr. Peanut’s employer; it was his home. His birth parents were among the victims of the Titanic’s tragic maiden voyage in 1912. Following their death, Peanut lived with a series of relatives in Spain, Virginia, and Florida before he was adopted by Planters in 1916. The details of that adoption remain sealed, but authorities have petitioned the courts in Florida to release the documents, which may contain crucial information related to the investigation. Over the decades, many of Peanut’s most vocal and loyal fans strongly suspected that the icon was being held against his will, forced to participate in commercials and parades, and lend his likeness to myriad Planters products without proper compensation.
The Better Business Bureau received a handful of complaints from concerned parties in the late ’90s who had come to believe that Mr. Peanut’s trademark costume—a monocle, top hat, spats, and cane—was part of a cover-up, intended to conceal his injuries. Others felt as though the cane had become a necessity due to repeated and untreated injuries sustained over the course of his employ at Planters.
It is unclear what the brand hopes to achieve with its tweet, which seems to suggest that Peanut willingly gave his life to help his friends. But those who managed to develop and maintain friendships with Peanut during his tenure at Planters find his death suspicious, noting that he had no actual friends within the corporation itself. These friends, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation by Big Peanut, say they’ve never given Peanut any reason to believe their lives were in danger or that his death was required for their salvation. “Planters is treating him like some kind of martyr,” said one friend, who has known Mr. Peanut for some 60 years. “But the Peanut I knew would never want to be portrayed that way. He was a survivor, not a victim.”